Hours after a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge ordered that he must partially shut down his factory, a defiant David Tran defended his hot chili sauce Sriracha and said, “we don't make tear gas here.”
In a 500-word open letter titled “A Story Behind the Story,” Huy Fong Foods CEO Tran, said Wednesday he believed in creating jobs and making American made products, aligning himself with President Barack Obama.
In response to a lawsuit filed by the city of Irwindale, Calif., Judge Robert H. O'Brien ordered Huy Fong Foods, Inc., the maker of the popular hot sauce, to cease operations believed to be causing the smell that many residents have complained of and immediately make changes to mitigate the odor. He said the smells “appear as extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses warranting consideration as a public nuisance.”
Donna Lam, Huy Fong's executive operations officer, said Wednesday if the company is forced to stop production, there will be 200,000 less bottles of Sriracha sauce produced each day. “Overseas imports,” will be left to fill the void, she said.
Tran said three years ago, the city offered an “attractive and irresistible” loan to him to build the factory there.
The deal included a 100 percent interest-only loan for a 10-year term, with a balloon payment at the end. Huy Fong agreed to give a yearly $250,000 payment in-lieu of taxes each year.
Tran said he had an “odd feeling,” after dealing with city officials and the smell complaints shortly after the plant opened.
“After the odor complaints from last year, I believed the City of Irwindale acted severely toward us without a real investigation into the matter,” he wrote.
The city has until Dec. 4 to submit a proposed preliminary injunction with the court.